Stepanovs decline Games invitation as spectators

(Reuters) - Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova and her husband said on Monday they would not accept an International Olympic Committee (IOC) invitation to attend the Rio Games as spectators.

“We never blew the whistle with the intent to getting a spectators’ invitation to Rio,” the couple said in a letter to IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper after the IOC said on Sunday the middle distance runner was ineligible to compete in the Games.

“We respectfully decline your invitation as spectators, but kindly ask you to give Yuliya the fair treatment she deserves.”

The IOC said the former drug cheat could not participate in the Games as an independent athlete because she did not satisfy the ethical requirements for an athlete to enter the Olympic Games.

It also said all Russians with doping pasts were ineligible for the Games.

Stepanova, however, said the IOC decision to ban her was unfair as based on wrong and untrue statements and she has appealed the decision.

Although the Russian athletics federation and its athletes have been banned from international competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body had cleared Stepanova for a return to racing.

The final decision on her participation in the Olympics, however, rested with the IOC.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar